Back from the RadCon convention in Pasco, Washington. Great fun, great people, great folks running everything. I want to thank Bob Brown for the fantastic job he did. Kris and I had a blast.
And talk about feeling like an old guy. Wow, the convention was swarming with young readers and fans. In fact, if I had to guess, I would say at least 75% of the convention was under 25. Maybe more. Does my heart good to see the kids coming into the conventions again.
A couple of interesting conversations happened at RadCon as well about agents. Basically, over the weekend, three different people asked me if I could give some advice about agents. My first question was always, “Have you been reading my blog? I may not be the right person to ask.”
Their response was no, they haven’t been reading these Killing Sacred Cows posts. I told them to do so and read all the comments afterwards as well, but they insisted on asking me their question anyway. All three had the same common issue. All three couldn’t get their agent to talk to them, to mail out their book, to respond to any kind of communication. They wanted to know what I thought they should do.
Note: All three had gotten an agent, all three were published writers. All three were basically stopped writing by their employee. I have no idea if I helped any of them, or if they will show up here and actually read these blogs. But it sure made me sad.
Sad for the state of publishing, sad for the state of new art coming into writing. This current system will change, as systems in publishing always do, but we will lose a generation or more of writers along the way.
Another writer on a panel went on and on and on about how you can’t make any money writing fiction these days. I just sat there sort of trying not to laugh, then asked him point blank how much a writer made if their book hit a hardback bestseller list in just royalties, not counting all the other income streams from such a hit. (You know, cost of book times 10% royalty to be low times 100,000 copies which might hit a list, might not, but it’s low.) $25 book times 10% times 100,000 copies. Luckily, that’s no money.
The writer made some comment about it being a fluke that anyone hit a bestseller list and I asked why it was a fluke when there were 1,530 different spots last year on any one of the major bestseller lists. And some writers only hit the Publisher’s Weekly list while others hit the USA Today list while others hit the New York Times bestseller list, which means there were far more. Actually, last year, 660 different books hit the hardcover PW bestsellers list.
Yeah, can’t make any money at this business. I make a nice living at this business and wasn’t even close to a list last year. Just head-shaking how silly and ground into myths many writers want to stay. They sure won’t let facts and math get in the way of their belief. It’s why some of these Killing Sacred Cows posts make people angry. I made that guy angry this weekend simply by giving him facts and math. He wanted to hold onto his belief because it excused his not working, his laziness, his inability to learn how to write commercial fiction. Just easier to blame the system than himself.
But besides those sad moments, it was great fun, great meals, great time with everyone, including some old friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Thanks again, Bob, and everyone at RadCon who put on such a great convention. Thanks for letting us be a guest. We’ll see you next year.